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Red Cross renews appeal for access to Myanmar detainees

[JURIST] The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) [official website] on Thursday renewed its call for access to detainees still being held in Myanmar after the government's crackdown [JURIST report] last month on opponents of the ruling military junta. In his second statement [text] calling for access to detainees [JURIST report] in the past two weeks, ICRC Director of Operations Pierre Kraehenbuehl, said that "Although the government has announced the release of hundreds or detainees over the past few weeks, the fate and whereabouts of those still detained in relation with the recent events remain unclear." Kraehenbuehl said that allowing the ICRC access to the detainees would will help to alleviate the concerns of families, and ensure that "the detainees' psychological and physical well-being is respected, as required by national and international law."

The government crackdown against protesters began in August, when Myanmar [JURIST archive] security officers arrested hundreds of Buddhist monks demonstrating against rising fuel prices and human rights abuses by the military regime. Protests only subsided when junta troops effectively locked down Myanmar's major cities. At least 10 people were killed when government soldiers shot into protesting crowds [JURIST report]. ICRC delegates starting working in Myanmar in 1986, but have not been able to visit Myanmar prisons and labor camps since late 2005 at the command of the military regime. Reuters has more.

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